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Framfield field History

Posted by Colin/ Bob B on Mon, Sep 26 2016 at 01:33 PM CDT:

Thanks Bob for this history

The History of Framfield Recreation Ground
Ll 191g, the Government found that it had amassed f6m from sales in military canteens so allocated f 1.5m to a Welfare Fund for the benefit of returning soldiers. This worked out to be an award of 5 shillings (25p) per retumee - the average weekly wage in 1918 being 30 shillings.
113 h;ky Framfield soldiers retumed and, after financial adjustments, f45 from the fund was granted, io be managed by soldiers and a local committee rather than individual donations'
The eoneffiit*ee deciied they wanted t+use the money to try and create a Recreation Ground -
a park of peace far removed from the horrors of the V/estem Front-
A field behind the local school was thought to be ideal and the landolYner, Mrs. Curteis, agreed to sell it to them for f385. The tenant farmer, Mr. Pratt, although having already funt*a the field, agreed to waive his rights for f5 compensation. Nevertheless they had to
find more funds to complete the purchase so local firndraising began and f60 was raised' However, when they approached Mr. and Mrs. Eaton, of Thurston Hall, the couple said that they wished to pay ifr. n ff amount in memory of the fallen of the Parish' These hugely
charitable and generous parishioners made no stipulation on their gift expressing only that all religions woulJ be free to use the recreation ground, but Mr. Eaton hoped that no 'conchl/
*orlla ever step foot on it and in Juty 1921\twas duly opened'
In 1923,60 trees of 20 varieti", ,rrrl phnted around the perimeter of the ground each bearing a plaque at the foot of each trunk inscribed with the name of a soldier and his regiment.
In 1935 The Royal British Legion offered to help with the management of t!9 trees and in that same year aWellingtoniafreewas planted to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King
George V.
The ground was acquired forwar ussin'WWtl andxenffi{othrobserver €orps forthe prinity sum of f I uy"*.Many locals still remember trenches being dug on it and the Home
brard using it fo, t uiring. Framfield was in 'bomb alley' and suffered many Vl 'doodlebug' hits and pla"e crashes anJ at one point 5 German airmen were buried in the local church cemetery to be later exhumed and reinterred in Germany after hostilities'
By 19ai the ground was preffy churned up but was flattened out for public use again by farmers, rollers and in the late 1950s responsibility and ownership was transferred to the
Parish Council.
The recreation ground was the site for a retuming Framfield resident and hero, the transpolar
"*plor"r,
Charll Burton who, with Ranu$h Fiennes, had completed a 3year trek from pole to pJe-When Charlie Burton came back to ihe village inl982,he posed for photos and signed
'urrtographs
but added that he wanted to escape from the memories of the freezing ice floes
and biting polar winds and how glad he *ut io be able to retum to the peace, green fields and
tranquillity of Framfield.
When our 11g came back from the horror of WWI they wanted the same - a place to spiritually unwind, reflect and, with the passing of the years, appreciate the calm and peaceful motion oithe surrounding trees planted in remembrance of the fa]len.
They were the lucky orr"r]700,0b0 *"t" not so lucky'
We are today,s l"cky ones because of those young men from Framfield and their dream of a peacefu I remembrance Park'
ihat', rvhy we f"ei ro plssionately about our Recreation Ground, this special place in our history.
This was their gift to the future - what will our gift to the future be? A phone mast ? !
By paul Leader September 2016 (Ref-Framfield & Blackboys Through the Ages by MI Green & PM Allsop


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